Kilbane annoyed with ref
Ireland star hits out at Hansson
Last Updated: November 22, 2009 10:40am
Kevin Kilbane has hit out at referee Martin Hansson following Republic of Ireland's controversial defeat to France.
The World Cup play-off was locked at 1-1 on aggregate when William Gallas scored the goal that sent France through and broke Irish hearts.
The goal should have been disallowed after Thierry Henry used his hand to control the ball before setting up Gallas.
Kilbane saw the incident clearly and was left fuming when he spoke to Hansson later in the match and the official assured him the decision was correct.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Kilbane said: "A couple of us stopped playing when Henry handled the ball.
"I suppose we shouldn't have because we might have been able to deal with the cross, but the handball was so blatant.
"I probably had the best view, along with Shay Given and Keith Andrews. We were staring right at Henry.
"The initial handball, which he possibly couldn't have avoided, took the ball away from him, but he cut it back for himself with the second touch of his hand.
"That's what I saw and that is why I thought it was so clear.
"I asked the referee at half-time in extra time, 'Did you see it?' and he told me 'I can 100% say it wasn't handball'.
"Those were his exact words. That is what made it even more annoying.
"I don't know how he can make a comment like that when he hasn't seen it."
Kilbane has refused to be too critical of Henry, who insisted after the match that the handball was accidental.
"I also asked Henry on the pitch, 'Handball?' and he said, 'Yes, it was handball, but I couldn't help it," Kilbane explained.
"He blatantly lied by saying it was unavoidable.
"I think he said the same thing to Richard Dunne when they were sitting on the ground at the end of the match.
"So we just accepted his apology. It is a cold-hearted game.
"You can't really blame Henry, even if we didn't like the comments he made to me and a few of the lads, but in the cold light of day the officials have to see that and the responsibility has to lie with them."